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No 60, but Stanton the HR, RBI king of 2017

While falling short of prestigious mark, Marlins slugger closes book on season for the ages
MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

MIAMI -- Finishing with 59 home runs is no small consolation for Giancarlo Stanton.

With the eyes of the baseball world following his every at-bat on Sunday, Stanton had two hits in five at-bats and drove in a run, but he was unable to belt home run No. 60 in the Marlins' 8-5 season-ending loss to the Braves at Marlins Park. That closed the book on arguably the greatest individual season in the history of the Marlins.

Full Game Coverage

MIAMI -- Finishing with 59 home runs is no small consolation for Giancarlo Stanton.

With the eyes of the baseball world following his every at-bat on Sunday, Stanton had two hits in five at-bats and drove in a run, but he was unable to belt home run No. 60 in the Marlins' 8-5 season-ending loss to the Braves at Marlins Park. That closed the book on arguably the greatest individual season in the history of the Marlins.

Full Game Coverage

"It was tough not to think about," Stanton said of the home run attention. "But at the same time, if I hit 60, you guys would be sitting here saying, why didn't I hit 61 or 62? I'm fine with the way my season went."

Video: ATL@MIA: Stanton on missing 60 homers, fan support

The 27-year-old ended up with 59 home runs and 132 RBIs, and he became the first Marlin to pace the Majors in both categories in the same year. The four-time All-Star also was the MLB leader in slugging percentage (.631).

Stanton was third in the Majors with 123 runs scored and second in the National League in OPS (1.007). Joey Votto of the Reds led in that category with 1.032.

"It's hard to hit a homer," Marlins center fielder Christian Yelich said. "I don't think any of the guys on the other team wanted to be the guy to give it up. It's tough. It didn't happen for him, but it was cool to see the crowd and the team pulling for him."

Video: ATL@MIA: Stanton notches two hits, misses 60 homers

Stanton finished with a slash line of .281/.376/.631, and he is one of the frontrunners for the NL MVP Award.

"I know I've got a legit chance," Stanton said of being the Marlins' first MVP. "I gave it my all. Hopefully I benefited from it."

Even though he didn't homer in the season finale, Stanton set another first. In the third inning, his single was clocked at 122.2 mph, making it the hardest base hit of any kind since Statcast™ launched in 2015.

Video: ATL@MIA: Stanton hammers hardest base hit since 2015

Of all his numbers, the category Stanton is most proud of is RBIs.

"Home runs, it's a crazy number, but that's the aura of my play, to be a home run hitter," Stanton said. "But to win the RBI [title], you've got to be a good hitter. I think that's pretty cool."

Video: ATL@MIA: Stanton laces an RBI single to left-center

Stanton is one of six players in MLB history to reach as many as 59 homers. Babe Ruth in 1921 finished with that number.

To give Stanton every chance to reach 60, the Marlins gave him his first start in the leadoff spot.

"It was fun being in the dugout every time he came up, wondering if this was going to be the swing," said catcher A.J. Ellis, who served as honorary manager for the day. "But you can't take away from what a tremendous year he had."

Stanton is the Marlins' all-time home run leader with 267. And he shattered Gary Sheffield's previous season home run mark of 42 in 2006.

The question now is if he will return in 2018 to build on those numbers. A group led by Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter, who attended Sunday's game, are taking control of the franchise from Jeffrey Loria.

Video: ATL@MIA: Sherman, Jeter attend Marlins game

Stanton has a full no-trade clause, so he has a say in where he can be dealt.

"I'm going to see what they got," Stanton said. "See what the plan is, and we'll brainstorm from there."

Stanton did make it clear he doesn't want to be a part of a rebuild.

"I wouldn't want to do that," he said. "It's also a business, too. We've got to figure out what's going to be best to win. Figure something out."

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Miami Marlins, Giancarlo Stanton